Sketching at Strawberry Hill House

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After a long, dark London winter, it is practically a requirement that your soul bursts out of your sternum with joy with the light returns and colour explodes from every corner of the natural world. 

One such, joyful, exuberant morning we ventured across the river to Strawberry Hill House. It is a jewel-box home, and the inspiration of Horace Walpole, man of letters and gothic novelist. Every corner was bathed in the prismatic light from the stained glass windows. And each room was unique, imaginative and eccentric.

There is always something to be inspired by in our neighbourhood. Sometimes life feels busy and frantic and I forget to "look" around me. If I stop for a moment (even the shortest interval between breaths) and try to really "see," I am always amazed by the beauty surrounding me. 

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Mother - Daughter mornings

My daughter is my alarm clock. She wakes at (or before) dawn and I hear her small voice calling, “Mama? Mama? I finished sleeping.”

That is how my day begins. 

We pull open the curtains and search for the sun, or if we’re up before (as is common in winter), we search for the setting moon and the morning star floating just above the rooftops of London. 

While I may not always be ready to start the day, I’m always ready to receive her warm, sleepy, nuzzling hugs and kisses. 

What I love about the morning is it’s possibility. The night has absolved all of yesterday’s disappointments and the sun brings a new day full of promise. 

Each morning starts the same. We get dressed, we make porridge, we brew coffee, and we invert into a few downward dog poses to clear the head. These routines are carefully choreographed steps that prepare us for the day to come. In the endlessly repetitive actions there is a sense of possibility. 

What will we do with this one wild day?

Will we go to town to see the ducks on the river and share babyccinos? Will Little One go to nursery school so that I can spend a few uninterrupted hours in my studio? Will we set up the craft table and draw uncountable numbers of stars and moons (just as many as are in our unfathomable universe)? 

Each day is a collaboration. 

For years I have wanted to collaborate with my mother. I have dreamed of writing a memoir or novel together, but it has always seemed too overwhelming. How to start? Especially since we live so far apart? 

I decided I needed to think of a smaller project to start with. Something we could do daily, but would add up cumulatively into something rather large. 

Since we both love mornings, we decided to take a photo each day before noon: just one picture. It could be of anything at all. It's about illuminating, and making beautiful, the random objects we see each day. The cup of coffee. The bird feeder. The bookshelf. 

We may be separated by 6297 kilometers, but we share the same aesthetic sensibility and way of seeing. We love the same things, wear the same colours, and read the same books. 

I hope you can see the connections and similarities in these photo duets. 

Here is the first instalment... 

MARILYN

19/11/16

20/11/16

21/11/16

22/11/16

23/11/16

24/11/16

25/11/16

26/11/16

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